The Most Influential Women in the World

I am able to trace back my maternal genealogy an impressive distance. My personal experience and knowledge begins with my maternal great-grandmother, Ruthie Mae McDonald Smith. I am glad to have known her as a young girl. I have glimpses of who she was, who she became. Recently, I feel that I’ve grown to know her more intimately as I’ve begun in depth research preparing for a historical narrative I am writing. 

Here is a photo of her with her husband, my great-grandfather and her five oldest children. The oldest girl, is my own grandmother, Alvis Yvone Smith (later to become a DeMoss). 


In this photo as I study my great-grandmother’s face, I can imagine she was so proud and probably so tired. Life was hard, physically hard nearly a century ago. She could not have seen what the future would hold, the tragedy, the grief, the heartache and surely the nightmares. She could not have known that three of her children in this photograph would become part of history, part of the worst school related disaster our nation has ever known. 


The New London School Explosion would destroy more than a building. It destroyed lives, families and the hopes and dreams of many mothers. Only moments before dismissal a gas explosion claimed hundreds of children and many of their teachers. 

I didn’t know her before of course, but my grandmother told me that her momma was never the same again. She never quite recovered. And yet, she continued to mother. She would birth four more children and live a long life. She would become the woman I remember, always appearing a little melancholy. 


Today is Mother’s Day and I’m thinking of Ruthie Mae McDonald who knew the greatest heartache a mother can have   I’m thinking of her eldest daughter, Alvis Yvone Smith DeMoss who had children of her own and one of them my mother, Genevieve DeMoss Roberts. I’m thinking of them all and my heart is thankful. 


I’m thankful to have known the most influential women in the world, in my world. I am thankful for the rich spiritual heritage that they passed on to me and that I will pass on to my daughters. Today I celebrate them all! Happy Mother’s Day! 

Celebrate Your Momma!

How do you celebrate Mother’s Day? Do visions of Hallmark commercials dance before your eyes? Do memories of yesterday cloud your vision of today? Do you have high expectations? Do you determine how your day went with a measuring stick of comparison? Do you want to honor your mom but feel lacking?

Let’s think this through together and be honest about it. Heck, let’s make a list.  

Ways to celebrate Mother’s Day

1 – TIME 

Take time to call, to visit, to give a hug in person, to play a board game, to eat a meal together, to sit on the porch and chat, to show her she is important, appreciated and loved. 


2 – Adventures

Go somewhere together. Visit the museum and laugh at the funny art. Go to a botanical garden. How about the zoo? Attend a concert or take an art class. Pottery? Painting? How about ballroom dancing? Even a day at the library could be great fun. 


3 – Gifts

She deserves it but make sure you make it personal. Put some thought into it. Believe me, that’s what moms are longing for, a thoughtful gift. If she’s on a diet, don’t buy her a box of candy. If she just started yoga, get her a gift that says you noticed that. Do not buy her something that the household will use. That’s not a gift for her. Live flowers that I can plant and enjoy all spring and summer make me happy and my kiddos know that. What do you know about your mom?


4 – WORDS

Say I love you! Tell her in words that she made a difference in your life. Buy a card or post it on Facebook or Tweet it or make a call. Speak up and say it right out loud! “Thank you Mom! Thank you for loving me, trying your best and giving it your all.”  Let her know that you are praying for her, that she matters and that she is loved. Even retell a funny ‘mom moment’ and laugh together about it. 


For those who can not celebrate their mom, I want to say something special to you. If your mom was not there for you, didn’t try her best, made costly mistakes and bad choices, please hear me clearly. This is not a reflection on you or your value or your worth. It is a reflection of her brokenness. If you can find it in your heart, forgive her, even if you can’t have a healthy relationship with her, even if she doesn’t deserve it, this Mother’s Day, celebrate by setting yourself free from bitterness, resentment and anger. If you are that mother that made a mess of everything, forgive yourself and embrace hope for a better tomorrow. 

The Mother’s Day Pit Fall – It’s a Trap

This won’t be your normal mushy Mother’s Day blog post. I’ll likely do one of those later. But, today I am thinking we need to set aside the fluff and get down to the nitty-gritty. Mother’s Day can be wildly emotional and the emotions aren’t always kind. Sometimes it is more like having your heart raked over live coals. 

You know I’m telling the truth. There are countless reasons that Mother’s Day can hurt like heck. Some you can’t avoid and must learn to cope with. But, there’s one that I hope reading this might help you bypass. 

If your heart is hurting about your own mother, your relationships with her or lack thereof or perhaps y’all are separated by miles or even death, Mother’s Day will hurt your heart. I pray that the good will outweigh the bad and your day will be joyful in spite of your grief. 

If your heart is hurting because of your own state of motherhood, perhaps a delayed state, Mother’s Day will hurt your heart. I pray that hope will spring anew and your day will be joyful in spite of your longing. 

As I said, there are some things that we just can’t control and there are just some hurts that can’t be avoided. But, we can learn to cope and continue on. I’ve been there. I truly understand and remember quite clearly dreading the Sunday every year when the preacher would tell all the moms to stand and I remained seated. That changed for me. This will change for you. Take courage. 

However, here is what I really want to talk about today. I want to talk about the moms who may be very disappointed when Mother’s Day rolls in and rolls right back out and your feelings are hurt because, well, it wasn’t all that. It was another day of changing diapers and cooking and cleaning and servitude. I said we were going to be real and I meant it. Sometimes we can feel unnoticed and under appreciated, especially on Mother’s Day. It’s the pits. 

I want to encourage you to avoid the emotional pit fall that Mother’s Day can deliver, if at all possible. Here’s the first important step. Recognize that you are worth celebrating! You work hard. You give up sleep, your favorite activities and sometimes your choice of foods. Hey, we get it.  We knew what we were signing up for (well mostly). We know that’s how the boat floats. But, not on Mother’s Day. 

If you have a well intentioned husband and small children a subtle hint may be in order. If, from past experiences you realize that a subtle hint isn’t going to work, be more direct. 

“Hey Honey, you know what I really want for Mother’s Day?” And then tell him! 

If you have no husband or if the husband you have refuses to cooperate with the less than subtle approach there’s no sense being miserable. If you have adult children that are too busy to bother celebrating the woman who wiped their noses and their derrières, well shame on them, but, don’t despair. 

If others won’t celebrate you then just CELEBRATE YOURSELF! Yes, you heard me right. Take yourself for a pedicure. Rent your favorite movie. Hog the remote control. Buy the flavor of ice cream that you like and no one else does. Go through the drive through if that’s all you can afford and still not cook. You are worth celebrating. 

Still hesitant? Not measuring up to how things should be? Perhaps not. But, it’s better to have a day of fun and special treats that you choose than realizing there’s a BBQ going on and it’s your heart on the grill. 

I’m going to make a confession. There has never been a Mother’s Day that didn’t find me having a tender moment when things didn’t go just right. Maybe, this year will be the exception. I don’t know. But, what I do know is I’m going to do my best to avoid known pitfalls of expecting my husband and children to be mind-readers. I’m going to speak up, be honest and do my best to have a great Mother’s Day. How about you?

  

A Bouquet of Forgiveness for Mother’s Day

So, today, the day before Mother’s Day, I have forgiveness on my mind.

Last night during the night I was praying and honestly, I was fretting. I was fretting about my own shortcomings as a mother and I was rehearsing regrets. Things I wished I had done differently, done sooner or not done at all. I finally was at the point of tears. This is not the point you want to be at when the clock says 3am. Mother’s Day can be such an emotional time for us moms.

I found myself considering one of the few serious scenes in the very funny movie I attended last night. This young momma was beating herself up pretty bad, feeling like a total failure and this big biker guy (famous country music singer) asks her who is it she’s not enough for? Finally it comes down to she isn’t enough for herself. That touched me. It made me think.

Another mom in the movie had a teen daughter and she was working hard to help her daughter not repeat her own mistakes. Still, yet, another mom was single and feeling destitute and hopeless. I think, this is a fairly accurate overview of the mental anguish a mom can put herself through.

I don’t know of a single mom who has not struggled with feeling inadequate. At one point, the main mom in the movie said she didn’t deserve to be celebrated (in reference to Mother’s Day). I can relate. If you are a mom, you can relate, if you are honest enough to admit it.

We get on FB and post our happy moments and we go to church and put on our happy faces. We look in the mirror and stare into our own eyes and will ourselves to press on and try harder and do better in spite of our weary bodies and our worried hearts.

We worry if we are being too strict or too lenient. We worry if we are messing our kids up for life or if we have allowed other people to do so. We worry about their futures and their spouses and their happiness and safety. We worry that whatever happens will in the end be our fault and if we could have some how prevented it. Sometimes I think the word mother is a synonym of worry.

We are so hard on ourselves. And so today, I’d like to encourage us moms with an early Mom’s Day gift to ourselves! Forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for those ‘mommy moments’ of lost composure and raised voices. Forgive yourself for overindulging or neglectful busy-ness. Forgive yourself for unkind words or bad attitudes. Ask The Lord to forgive you, ask your kids if need be and receive that forgiveness. It will be the sweetest smelling Mother’s Day gift you ever received, a bouquet of forgiveness.

Happy Mother’s Day from this less than perfect but trying my best momma to you! We haven’t failed until we’ve stopped trying.